Beneluxx Tasting Room
I finally got to this place last night and liked it, with some misgivings. The menu could use some editing, I'd rather have the reds in a simple list than read about how one of the Rhones is:
"Thoroughly primal, with a torrent of raspberry and boysenberry fruit rushing forth. Only shows hints of its full range, with licorice, incense, graphite and mocha flavors fluttering in the background. Has an iron-clad structure, with a long finish that shows great cut and grip"
I would agree that the wines were for the most part overpriced and under-good. I had a Tempranillo and a Zinfandel in particular that were inferior to the $10 bottles of those varietals that I'd usually drink. Also, the wine pricing is a little misleading. The price listed on the menu is per 25 ml, but the smallest serving they'll pour you is 50 ml. So while the price is technically accurate, you're always paying at least twice the price listed on the menu, which can lead to some sticker shock when you get the bill. That said, I also had a couple wines that were excellent, and that I probably would not have tried had I not been able to sample them at a low price. I didn't venture into the beer list, so I didn't witness the issue of the head being counted as part of the pour. It's definitely shady.
The cheeses we had were all good, I especially loved the aged gouda. We had a couple items off the regular menu too, a pizza and one of the robiquettes. I was expecting them to suck because the place obviously concentrates on the cheese and drinks, but they were pretty good. We also had a couple chocolate selections, they were OK but nothing special. The bars of El Rey chocolate I buy at Whole Foods are much better.
My main complaint would normally be that the service was kind of slow, but due to the nature of the place I don't know if I can really fault them for that. With such a huge menu and such small servings, the servers are just going to have to spend more time dealing with each table (answering questions, ferrying flasks to and fro) than they would at a regular restaurant.
Wow, this place is getting slammed. I'm a bit disappointed, having just gotten excited over the Citypaper review that lauds the wine list, the tasting orientation of the menu, and the low mark-ups on wine.
A question for those who've been: what are the wine glasses like--big tasting glasses with room to swirl & sniff? Given some of the rare and expensive wines they advertise at their website I am hoping that they do a good job with crystal. Any info appreciated.
i went last friday with my fiance and was extremely disappointed. the menu--(if u cant tell from the previous post) is completely overwhelming. i was really anticipating this place since it has glass rinsers built into the tables so i was ready to try some new stuff. there are no suggested samplers, like try 5 reds for $30 or something, cheese sampler etc. i understand that they want you to get to know what you like but it doesnt seem worth the hassle. We ordered two whites and two reds, which are sold in 1oz quantities or a glass, we opted for the ounce just for the fun of it, an ounce is less then you would get at a tasting at a winery in case you were wondering. its about a mouthful and not even enough to share. and we ordered four different cheeses to try--this was about $20 for four mouthfuls of wine and four pieces of cheese on a cracker. your better off buying a bottle of wine for $20 try even if you dont like it, its still worth it. might be worth the trip to try the cheese but not for the wine imho.
sorry i was not more specific. we ordered 1oz of the lamb chopper, garroxta, taleggio, and mahon cheeses. For wine we ordered an oz of pinot grigio, and a riesling, a pinor noir and a brunello. the quality of everything was excellent dont misunderstand me, i just wouldve preferred a little guidance or suggestion. They do have one page in the back of the menu which pairs wines with cheeses, but for the average customer i think the whole experience could be made a little less intimidating to maximize the appeal of the place.
The cheese we had (Manchego, a truffled cheese, and a random goat cheese) were fine, but paired with seaweed characters (what!?). The dinner items (ham and cheese panini and the wild board crepe) were fine but not overwhelming. The wines we had were AWFUL for the price. They have so many varieties (and we tried 7) that I won't bother listing, but for the price, I was completely disappointed. At one point, my dinner partner said "the 3 wines I've tried had little to no body and not much flavor...is there nothing better you can recommend?" and they said "well the only thing you'd like is the $50/glass wine here." He switched to beer. Not a fan of this poorly constructed Tria-clone. Go there instead.
On Sunday afternoon four of us went to try this new restaurant. Shortly after being seated, we had to run out the doors for fresh air due to a malfunctioning exhaust system. The restaurant filled with a thick smoke that burned our eyes and throats as the chef cooked food right behind the bar area. A proper exhaust system is a MUST. I’d also suggest implementing an easy to read menu where items are listed in order (i.e. Beer currently uses B1 through B26, however the beers are not ordered sequentially 1 through 26, they’re unordered) This makes it difficult to order several tastings when the waiter expects the guest to order by number, not by name. When the waiter brings the tastings to the table, he should have the containers labeled somehow so everyone knows what they’re tasting. Our waiter gave us a napkin with B23, B1, B26 etc. written on a napkin, but it was hard to look up when they are not sequential. One other suggestion — get all of the offerings in the system. We overheard one of the guests being charged $25 for 2 oz of Prosecco and 1 oz of chocolate because the bundle wasn’t “in the system yet” — it was supposed to be $8.50. They left in a huff after an argument with the waiter.
Our pours were supposed to be 125ml/ 4oz, but after the head wore off it was barely 25ml per tasting. The waiter said "that's the way it is", but after ordering 6- 125 ml tastings that ended up being less than 4 oz TOTAL, it was really disgusting treatment for the money. The waiter was exceedingly rude, 10 customers walked out due to the smoke, and we were told "send an email" "no manager on duty". We promptly went to Tria and had a fabulous time there.
Interesting...my boyfriend was complaining of his eyes burning when we were there (Fri. night) but it didn't bother me. Guess it was the exhaust acting up...the smoke alarm did go off at one point and the people behind the counter didn't even blink.
I did see someone get treated crappily because of the beer pours (I agree; terrible system--is 3 ounces of beer really worth losing a customer?) They walked out shortly afterwards.
The excuse we got every time and heard them telling others? "We just opened a week ago."
We made a point of telling the ever-friendly folks at the ever-awesome Tria how disappointing Beneluxx was. I think they were worried about competition. I can't imagine it will have any negative impact on their clientèle if others are getting this treatment.
The Tria manager also told me why one of my wines probably tasted exactly like rubbing alcohol: it was. That's what is used to clean the taps on those fancy contraptions...they apparently didn't flush out the lines well.
Mmm...I had 3/4 an ounce of rubbing alcohol with my $6 ounce of wine! And to think I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and blaming the taste on bad wine selections...
For anyone interested, foobooz.com has the menu:
All prices are per ounce
Robiola di Lombardia (di Bosco) $1.41
Rochetta (3 Milks) $2.03
Chatalain Camembert $2.00
Orval (Belgium) $1.75
Cottswold - English cheddar style with chives $1.43
Firm to Hard
Prima Donna Gouda $1.36
Roomano Gouda 5yr $1.63
Mahon Reserva $1.44
Piave Vechhio $1.60
La Serena $2.04
Cacio di Roma $1.21
Cana de Oveja $1.31
Firm to Hard
Pecorino Toscano $1.64
Manchego 1 yr. Raw Milk $1.55
Lamb Chopper - Cypress Hill – USA – Gouda Style $2.16
Ewephoria Gouda Holland $1.57
Crottin de Chavignol $3.91
Monte Enebro $2.52
Firm to Hard
Drunken Goat $1.43
Balarina Goat Gouda $1.40
Gorgonzola Dolce $1.14
La Peral $1.75
Roquefort Raw Sheep Milk $2.12
Point Reyes Blue $1.47
price per 25 grams (approx .9oz)
Valrhona Ivoire (White) Feves
CL1 White Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
Ivoire is a delicately flavored low-sugar white chocolate which makes a delicious match for the taste of fruit or liqueur. 1.59
Valrhona Equatoriale Dark 55%
CL3 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
A balanced chocolate taste this is Valrhona universal dark chocolate. 1.25
Valrhona Manjari 64% Cocoa
CL5 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
Fresh, sharp bouquet. A blend of precious Criollo and Trinitario beans from Madagascar, Manjari releaes red fruit notes that captivate the senses. 1.65
Valrhona Guanaja 70% Cocoa
CL7 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
Made with a blend of the finest cocoa beans from South America. An exceptional bitter chocolate, its intense flavour, enhanced by floral notes, has a powerful, lingering intensity. 1.57
Callebaut White (Wit-Blanc)
CL7 White Chocolate, Callebaut (Belgium)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .61
Callebaut 60% Cocoa Thick Bittersweet
CL20 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Callebaut (Belgium)
No description yet .59
Blanc Satin Pistoles (White Pistoles)
CL9 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
Silky milk taste laced with a sweet natural vanilla 19.8%
Milk 29.2% Cocoa .87
Barry Callebaut Milk Chocolate
CL18 Milk Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .55
Mi-Amère” 58% Cacao
CL13 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
This dark couverture is widely praised for its consistent aromatic rounded fl avor, as well as for its tantalizing suggestion of vanilla.
Very slightly sweet and with an abundance of character .79
Cacao Barry 60% Pistole
CL14 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .87
64% Extra Bitter Guayaquil pistoles
CL15 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
A hint of youthful pepper tones, aniseed and liquorice, and on the other, fl oral, wooded, red fruit and black olive suggestions, lightly shaded by Arabic coffee notes. Extra-Bitter Guayaquil renowned for
its much appreciated lingering bite. .96
Valrhona Jivara Milk, 40% Feves
CL2 Milk Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
Intense hints of caramel and vanilla. 1.55
Le Noir Gastronomie 61% Cocoao
CL4 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
A blend of the most fragrant cocoa beans from Caribbean and Indian Ocean plantations. Its balanced taste comes from a light touch of acidity 1.26
Valrhona Caraibe 66% Cocoa
CL6 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
This chocolate is the result of the combination of the finest cocoa beans from the Caribbean islands. Aromatic and long in the mouth, its fruity and barely sweet taste reveals the delicate savours of almonds and roasted coffee. 1.65
Araguani 72% Cocoa
CL8 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
The result of a harmonious blend of two rare cocoa beans, Araguani releases intense aromas of liquorice, raisin, and chestnut over its distinctively bitter base notes. 1.79
Callebaut Milk (Melk-Lait)
CL11 Milk Chocolate, Callebaut (Belgium)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .81
Callebaut Semi-Sweet 52% Cocoa
CL19 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate,Callebaut (Belgium)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .56
Tanzanie Single Origin
C16 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate,Cacao Barry (France)
A dark chocolate made from single-origin Tanzanian cocoa beans. Combines subtle fruity flavors with natural vanilla for a distinctly rich taste. 75% cocoa content. .98
Cacao Barry Gianduja
CL10 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
The perfect match of a full-bodied dark chocolate and a pure hazelnut paste 31.3% Hazelnuts 22% Cocoa 1.64
Cacao Barry 50% Force Noir
CL12 Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
With a minimum of 50% cocoa, have a consistently robust and well rounded flavor. The product possesses a biscuity texture, and top notes that evoke gingerbread to the discerning palate. .65
Blanc Satin Pistoles (White Pistoles)
C17 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
Containing 29.2% cocoa blended with rich creamy milk, Cacao Barry Blanc Satin possesses a silky smooth texture for extra lusciousness so delicate on the palate. accentuates caramelized notes with a hint of the finest vanilla. .61
Cacao Barry 75% Tanzanie pistols
CL16 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
Made from rare prized Tanzanian cocoa beans and has a 75% cocoa content, delivers a wild richness and remarkable lingering finish .98
Soup Du Jour
Please ask server for today’s soup. 5.99
Mixed Marinated Olives 5.99
Mesculin Salad 6.99
Beer Cheese Soup
Five cheeses blended with a blonde ale beer and smart popcorn 5.99
Mixed greens topped with roasted beets 7.99
Caesar Salad 6.99
Homemade Mozzarella Cheese, prosciutto, fresh basil, and “ugly” heirloom tomatoes 8.99
Potatoes, Onion, Beef, Egg, Cheddar Cheese 9.99
Chorizo with La Peral Blue Cheese, port Dijon cream, Spanish onions and peppers 9.99
French style featuring onions, olives, shrimp, fennel and goat cheese 8.99
Grùyere and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses,white wine, garlic, nutmeg,lemon and Kirschwasser. 8.99
Chef’s choice of seasonal and special cheese fondue.
Ask your server for pricing.
Aged, medium-sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, lager beer, garlic and seasonings. 8.99
Fingerling Potatoes $4.49
Fresh Vegetables $4.49
Garlic Herb Chicken $5.99
Beef Tips $6.99
Cibus Hilleli (Hillel’s Snack)
Croque Monsieur Bechamel
Ham, Gruyere Cheese and Classic Bechamel Sauce in a Panini style 8.99
Meaty Mushroom, herbed goat cheese, sweet red peppers, hummus 8.99
Chicken and Spinach Panini
With garlic, fennel, chicken and spinach 9.99
Roast Pork, Ham, Swiss Cheese, Pickle and Mustard in pressed bread 7.99
Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh arugula 8.99
sausage in a galette crepe
Wild Boar Robiquette
with port wine and five spice marinated cherries 6.99
with seasonal melon , shaved Grana Padano, and truffle vinaigrette 6.99
with vanilla infused pineapple and reduced balsamic vinegar 6.99
Beer Brat Robiquette
with veal demi glaze 6.99
Any updates? I am dying to try this place! Everytime I drive by I get so excited, they are doing an amazing restoration job on the building. The last time I drove by (though it was a few weeks ago) they did not even seem close to finished. Did I mention I can't wait for it to open???!!!
AmblerGirl-- I think you're referring to the Broad Axe Tavern. Mike Naessens backed out of the deal. I spoke to the owner of the building, and he's looking for a new operator. The Beneluxx Tasting Room at 33 S. Third St. opened last week. It's a basement space. Lots of beers, wines, cheese and a few chocolates (including a killer mousse). Each table has its own glass-rinsing system. I'm not wild about the TV screen over the bar, but...